Opera returns to the Joan Sutherland Theatre after the COVID-19 shut down in March 2020, with Opera Australia unveiling a four- production, three-month, COVID-safe season for 2021 that includes two debut productions for the company.
This quartet of productions is intended to be the first of several for the year. Due to open on 5 January 2021, Graeme Murphy’s production of Franz Lehar’s effervescent operetta The Merry Widow will be conducted by Brian Castles-Onion and Paul Fitzsimon. Soprano Julie Lea Goodwin and tenor Alexander Lewis will reprise their popular partnership to play ex-lovers Hanna Glavari and Danilo Danilovich, leading an all Australian cast including Stacey Alleaume and David Whitney amid the glamour of art deco France.
Verdi’s Ernani opens on 2 February, in a debut performance for Opera Australia. A co-production with Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Ernani is an early opus by Verdi, based on the play by Victor Hugo. It tells the story of a former Don turned outlaw whose desire to be with the woman he loves is outweighed only by his duty to honour a vow he once made. Conducted Renato Palumbo, tenor Diego Torre will make his role debut as Ernani opposite Verdian soprano Natalie Aroyan, also making her role debut, as Elvira. Bulgarian Baritone Vladimir Stoyanov sings the role of Don Carlo, King of Spain and Ukranian bass Vitalij Kowaljow sing the role of Don Ruy Gomez de Silva.
John Bell’s popular production of Puccini’s Tosca will open on 22 February, set in its original Roman location, but taken from 1800 to 1943. Instead of Napoleon’s army occupying the city, the Nazis hold power. Stellar Italian baritone Marco Vratogna will sing the role of one of the world’s greatest operatic villains, Scarpia; soprano Carmen Giannattasio is set to give a spell-binding performance in the title role. Diego Torre will sing his second leading role for the Sydney summer season as Tosca’s lover Cavaradossi.
A new production of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle goes on the boards in March, directed by Andy Morton and conducted by Andrea Molino. Based on a French folk tale, this one-act Hungarian opera features bass Daniel Sumegi and mezzo-soprano Carmen Topciu. This haunting new production by Andy Morton promises to capture the suspense and suspicion and challenges audiences with a lingering sense of unrest.
Opera Australia’s popular recital series Great Opera Hits also returns to the Sydney Opera House, as a perfect introduction to opera or a great night out. This 90 minute show features some of the the world’s most famous arias by Bizet, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi, hosted by Guy Noble and performed by some of Australia’s finest singers, on selected dates in January and early February.
Bookings: Opera Australia Box Office | 02 9318 8200 | opera.org.au
General public tickets on sale 19 November 2020
Working closely with the Sydney Opera House, Opera Australia’s 2021 summer season will be operating within a COVID-safe environment, ensuring the safety of audiences and performers. The following measures have been introduced at the Sydney Opera House:
Reduced venue capacities (50%) and physically-distanced theatre seating (a minimum of one empty seat between groups).
Regular cleaning of high-traffic and high-touch areas with hospital-grade disinfectant.
Hand sanitiser stations in frequently accessed areas and near bathroom facilities.
COVID-19 safety training for all operational, frontline and contract staff, as well as on-site COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshals.